Miss Universe

The Miss Universe Organization and Scandals

If you think that the Miss Universe Pageant is just a bunch of pretty girls, you don't really know anything about the world of pageants and their contestants. The famous beauty pageant is also known for scandals; last year's Trump controversy is far from the first scandal faced by the pageant and its winners.

2006 Miss USA winner Tara Conner and 1996 Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado both made headlines after the pageant, with Conner nearly losing her crown following reports of hard partying. She was allowed to retain her title, provided she enter a drug rehabilitation program.

Tara Conner, Miss USA, and Donald Trump
Tara Conner, Miss USA, and Donald Trump during Donald Trump Holds Press Conference with Miss USA, Tara Conner Regarding Possible Dismissal her Miss USA Title at Trump tower in New York City, New York, United States.

On The Oprah Winfrey Show, Donald Trump said that he gave a second chance to Conner for personal reasons. His brother Fred died from alcoholism and Trump said, "I believe in second chances, and sometimes it works when you give somebody a second chance."

Venezuela’s Alicia Machado was crowned Miss Universe in 1996 (45th Edition). During her reign as Miss Universe, Machado made headlines when it was reported that she gained too much weight and the Miss Universe Organization was considering replacing her with her runner-up, Taryn Mansell of Aruba.

alicia machado

Alicia Machado when she was Miss Universe, after gaining weight

The 19 year-old Machado started a new fitness program after she was criticized for gaining weight after winning the 1996 Miss Universe pageant. She claims to have lost five pounds in three days.

Pictures from Alpha Press

Although Machado retained her title, this move by the pageant organizer was heavily criticised by people all over the world. IT was seen that they are promoting a body image. Machado’s pictures of her working out to lose weight surfaced in newspapers and the pressures created by the organizers was heavily slammed. After Trump's racist remarks Machado has revealed that she will write a book addressing Donald Trump's Abuse And Racism.

We have seen several winners who have resigned or have been dethroned after winning. But one of the most mysterious dethroning happened in 2002. Russia’s Oxana Fedorova was crowned Miss Universe 2002 (51st Edition). Fedorova became the first Miss Russia to win the Miss Universe contest. Soon rumours spread that she is pregnant.

Oxana Fedorova when she was Miss Universe
Oxana Fedorova when she was Miss Universe in 2002

She stated that she voluntarily gave up her crown for personal reasons, mainly because she wanted to finish her law degree. Fedorova was dethroned four months later and first runner-up Justine Pasek of Panama took over the Miss Universe title.

The 2013 Miss Universe Pageant was held in Russia despite its anti-gay laws: When the decision was made to hold the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow despite the country's recently passed anti-gay laws, openly gay 2012 co-host Andy Cohen said he was boycotting the telecast, citing the discriminatory nature of the laws and concern for his own safety.

There were additional calls for a boycott of the pageant or for it to relocate from Russia but it proceeded without incident. Still, openly gay MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts did co-host the pageant.

Andy Cohen with Giuliana Rancic and Miss Venezuela Irene Esser at the 2012 Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas
Andy Cohen with Giuliana Rancic and Miss Venezuela Irene Esser at the 2012 Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas

2015 Miss Universe pageant contestants from Lebanon and Israel posting a selfie together: Ahead of the 2015 Miss Universe pageant in January, Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, and Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, sparked controversy after they posed together for a selfie. Lebanon's government forbids its citizens from making contact with Israelis, with the two countries still technically at war.

selfie miss israel miss lebanon
That’s Miss Israel, 21-year-old Doron Matalon, on the left, and Miss Lebanon, 25-year-old Sally Greige, to her immediate right. The image appeared innocent enough. But shortly after the photo was posted online, Lebanese fans of Griege criticized the pageant titleholder for disrespecting her home country. Donald Trump added “Miss Israel and Miss Lebanon are fighting like cats and dogs. It shouldn’t be happening. They’re at the Miss Universe pageant. We bring people together. Let’s get together. No more fighting,”

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